Beavers Close Out Non-Conference Season vs. Sacramento State

Dec. 26, 2004

Corvallis -

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UPCOMING: The Oregon State men's basketball team (7-3) looks to finish up a strong non-conference season with a home game against Sacramento State (2-8) on Tuesday (Dec. 28) at 5 p.m. The Beavers have won three in a row for the first time since winning four in a row midway through the 2002-03 season. Later this week, the Beavers open Pacific-10 Conference play at home against UCLA on New Year's Eve (Friday, Dec. 31) at 3:05 p.m., and against USC on Sunday (Jan. 2), at 2:05 p.m. Good news for the Beavers -- senior All-Pac-10 forward David Lucas is on the verge of returning from injury.

ON THE AIR: Because of the Insight Bowl, the Sacramento State game will only be heard live on KTHH-AM 990 in the Corvallis area, with Jon Warren calling the action. It can also be heard on the internet by Yahoo! Sports college broadcast subscribers by going to and following the links.

THE SERIES: The Beavers are 4-0 all-time against Sacramento State. There were OSU home wins in 1991-92, 1997-98 and 2003-04, and a road victory in 2002-03. Last year's contest at Gill Coliseum (Dec. 22, 2003) was a 76-73 OSU win, as David Lucas had 24 points and Chris Stephens had 18.

PROMOTIONS: Fans who have a game ticket to the Sacramento State game are welcome to stay at Gill Coliseum to watch the OSU football team play in the Insight Bowl immediately afterward, as two big-screen televisions are being brought in. There will also be special food deals and a postgame autograph session with the OSU men's basketball team.

LOOKING BACK: In the last game before a brief Christmas break, the Beavers held off winless Prairie View A&M, 67-63, in Texas on Dec. 21. OSU took an early 16-point lead and was up by 17 at 38-21 early in the second half. The Panthers made things difficult, however, by shooting 63.0% in the second half after a 20.7% first half. While Prairie View A&M got back to within one point with less than four minutes to go, the Beavers finished strong for the victory. Nick DeWitz scored 18 of his career-high 20 points in the second half.

INJURY UPDATES: Senior All-Pac-10 forward David Lucas has been cleared to practice. He had surgery to repair a tendon on his right big toe on Oct. 28 and has missed the first 10 games of the season. His availability will depend on how well his first few practices go ... Sophomore guard Angelo Tsagarakis is practicing again and may be available soon. He had surgery on a dislocated shoulder in September.

BENCH SCORING IMPRESSIVE: OSU's depth has been very good this season and may be among the best in the Pac-10 Conference. The Beaver bench has outscored the opponents' bench six times, with OSU posting a 5-1 record in those games. The OSU bench is averaging 24.3 points per game. A total of 10 OSU players are averaging at least 14.0 minutes per game of playing time. When David Lucas and Angelo Tsagarakis return from injuries, the bench will grow even deeper.

FREE THROWS ARE GOOD: Several free throw shooters have had impressive streaks this season, and have hit for an excellent percentage. Sasa Cuic made 30 consecutive free throws earlier this season to tie an OSU record, and he is now 50 of 57 (.877). Chris Stephens had a streak of 22 straight free throws made. He was earlier leading the Pac-10 in free throw percentage and is now 28-for-31 (.903) in 2004-05. Jason Fontenet has made 24 of 31 attempts (.774), including a streak of 13 straight at one point. Of Cuic's 146 total points this season, 34.2% have come from the free throw line. As a team, the Beavers are shooting 72.4% from the stripe, which is not far off the school record of 75.0% set in 1965-66.

THREE-POINTERS TOO: The Beavers are also faring well from beyond the three-point line. OSU players have hit on 35.5% (55-for-155) from beyond the arc. The school record is 40.6% (97-for-239) in 1987-88 -- the second year of the three-point shot. J.S. Nash (10-for-22, .455), Marcel Jones (8-for-18, .444) and Jason Fontenet (12-for-29, .414) have been the most accurate long-range shooters.

SO CLOSE: The Beavers are six points away from having an 9-1 overall record (OSU has suffered two two-point losses).

SEVEN-FOR-TEN: Over the past seven seasons, a 7-3 record matches the best mark that OSU has put together after 10 games. The Beavers were also 7-3 in 2002-03 and 1999-2000. Those are the best starts since an 8-2 record in 1997-98.

A TALE OF TWO HALVES: In nearly every game, the Beavers have come out ready to play at tip-off. OSU is averaging 35.7 points in the first half to the opponents' 27.9, and has led at halftime in eight of 10 games ... But, second halves have been an entirely different matter. After the break, OSU is averaging just about the same at 35.5 points, but opponents are averaging 40.6 points, and the opponents have scored more second-half points in seven of 10 games.

BIG LEADS THAT DISAPPEAR: As a result of OSU's Jekyll and Hyde first half/second half phenomenon, the Beavers have taken a double-digit lead in nine out of 10 games -- but have either given it up partly, or entirely, all nine times. Here are the details:• Siena: led by 14 in the first half, then trailed by nine in the second half before winning by two... • East Carolina: led by 13 in the first half, but suffered a two-point loss... • Elon: led by 14 in the second half, then had the lead cut to three points before winning by 10... • Portland: led by 19 in the second half, then had the lead cut to two points before winning by three... • Colorado: led by 16 in the first half, then trailed by two in the second half before winning by 11... • Georgia: led by 13 in the first half, but suffered a two-point overtime loss... • Bethune-Cookman: led by 20 in the second half, then had the lead cut to five points before winning by 13... •Boise State: led by 17 in the second half, then had the lead cut to five points before winning by 11... • Prairie View A&M: led by 17 in the second half, then had the lead cut to one point before winning by four.

DOWN TO THE LAST SECOND: Four of the first seven games were decided by three points or less, keeping with a theme that the program had during last year's pre-Pac-10 action in which six of the nine games were decided by five points or less or in overtime (2OT and 3OT as well). Here's a closer look at this year:vs. Siena (W 69-67) -- Sasa Cuic completes a conventional three-point play with four seconds remaining. Siena's Kojo Mensah narrowly misses a three-point attempt at the buzzer.vs. East Carolina (L 62-64) -- Chris Stephens and Sasa Cuic miss three-point attempts in the last three seconds.vs. Portland (W 66-63) -- Kenny Hooks blocks a Darren Cooper three-point attempt at the buzzer.vs. Georgia (L 74-76 OT) -- In regulation, Chris Stephens hits a jumper with six seconds left to give OSU a two-point lead, but Georgia sends the game into overtime on a shot at the buzzer. With 1.6 seconds left in overtime, J.S. Nash throws a perfect length-of-the-court pass to Nick DeWitz, but his hurried, under-pressure lay-up attempt just misses.

FREQUENT-FLYER MILES: Oregon State has made two trips to the Eastern time zone, with appearances at the Black Coaches Invitational in Raleigh, N.C., and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl for Kids in Atlanta. It's believed to be the first time in the history of the program that OSU has made two separate non-postseason trips to an East Coast time zone locale. The Beavers have hit all four time zones in the non-conference season alone after the trip to Boise State (Mountain) and Prairie View A&M (Central).

INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR: The Beavers have three players who hail from overseas, and another that had to cross the U.S.' northern border to get to OSU. There are three Europeans: Sasa Cuic (Croatia), Angelo Tsagarakis (France) and Liam Hughes (England), while Derek Potter is from British Columbia. Another player, Jim Hanchett, served a two-year mission in Brazil and lived for a short time in Germany.

THE NEW CLASS: Head coach Jay John signed three student-athletes to national letters of intent during the early signing period (Nov. 10-17). Joining the program for 2005-2006 will be guards Josh Tarver (6-3, Jesuit HS, Portland, OR) and Wesley Washington (6-3, Compton CC, Compton CA), and power forward Calvin Hampton (6-9, New Hampton Prep School, NH). Tarver's brother Zach is a true freshman receiver on the OSU football team and his oldest brother Shon was a standout guard at UCLA (1991-94).

BEAVERS IN THE NBA: Two former Beavers are currently in the National Basketball Association. NBA all-star Gary Payton is in his 15th year in the league and first with the Boston Celtics, and Brent Barry is in his 10th year in the league and first with the San Antonio Spurs. A total of 26 former Beavers have played in the NBA.

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